Back in September of 2017, those tested by the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria were stunned by all the damage. What we might have once taken for granted, was shockingly gone. As much as we try to describe the powerful forces of Mother Nature to others, no one would truly understand the magnitude unless they had lived through it. (themselves.) The silver lining you ask? After some time, people became more resilient than ever. Any sense of pride that was lost, was restored with even more meaning as the community rebuilt itself, physically and emotionally.
Now, less than three years later, another major crisis strikes the U.S. Virgin Islands, — and the entire human race.
The normalcy we were finally starting to feel, like concrete hardening, has again crumbled by this pandemic.
Unemployment is skyrocketing, Students are being mandated to stay home from school for at least three weeks, if not more. Non-essential workers are being quarantined, leaving businesses and employees without work until further notice, and the already stressful job of a healthcare provider just became even more demanding.
… The list is of calamity is ever-growing with no certainty of when everyday life will be normalized yet again.
Quarantine, something that seemed real only fictional in horror films, is our new normal. But we’re in paradise and will persevere and fulfill our motto, VI Strong. And I, for one, am trying to embrace what we do have and I’m trying to share ways you can thrive – and make a difference – in these bizarre times.
Below you will find various ways to lift yourself and other people’s spirits during the Novel COVID-19 virus crisis and create your own silver lining, meaning that even during adversity, something beautiful can come from those hardships.
I am an animal lover, but hey, there are so many ways to volunteer and get involved, even if you do have to stay at home. I personally find fulfillment in devoting time to the local Humane Society here in St. Thomas. Luckily, they are still open to volunteers with a 10-person limit. Usually, I volunteer by walking the dogs, but I’ve also given baths to dogs and adorable puppies and done photoshoots of the dogs to help promote them online. Help to make a difference in someone else’s life with all of this downtime you now have.
Invest in yourself
Now is the perfect time to get tech-savvy and invest in yourself. Update your resume, is COVID-19 quarantine a valid entry? Unsure. Build that website you’ve been brainstorming, start a blog or vlog about something you have a passion for! Start to create that business plan you’ve been dreaming up but haven’t had the time for. The options are endless and you just might even learn something new about yourself and inspire someone else.
What better time for a spring cleaning? Go through the clothes, hats, jewelry, shoes and whatever else might you have lying around, unused. My friend has this great rule that if you haven’t worn it in six months, get rid of it! Go through your DVDs and kitchen supplies, that you haven’t used in ages. Why not collect all these things then donate them to someone that can reuse these things once again? Don’t forget organization doesn’t only apply to material possessions. Organize your projects, to-do lists, get. it. done.
Lend a Helping Hand
My next suggestion is to offer a helping hand. Maybe you have elderly neighbors or know someone with asthma or immune deficiencies. Offer to do a grocery run for them, pick up their medications from the pharmacy or offer to drop off a to-go order at their door so they don’t have to cook. Be the hope you wish to see in humanity.
Rekindle a Hobby
Now is a great time to rekindle a hobby. Some hobbies very effortlessly can be reestablished right in the comfort of your own home. For instance; painting, reading, juggling a soccer ball, gardening, crocheting, writing, scrapbooking, cooking, practicing your guitar, baking, puzzling … I think you get the idea!
Rekindle an Old Friendship
Rekindle an old friendship. A simple “I miss your face” should do the trick. If not, an easy ice breaker might be to ask about how the COVID-19 virus is affecting them, their job and the surrounding community. Send them old photographs, reminisce over old memories! Reminiscing about the old times and getting back up to speed with old friends can truly be refreshing.
Exercise. Because now you really don’t have an excuse not to! Yoga, walking, swimming (if this is accessible to you), walking your dog, plyometric workouts… There are so many ways to stay active without access to a gym. Get creative! For crying out loud, people are posting videos online hooking up gallon water jugs on each end of mops and lifting them like dumbbells. Why not? Another example of people getting creative to stay active at home is making parkour parks in their backyards! Channel your inner child and have fun with it. There are also plenty of live streams online of local businesses offering classes online that you can sign up for right at home so there is really no reason not to!
(PS. Join Gilly, owner of Reebok Crossfit for her free online workouts! Follow them on Instagram at @rcfstt and check out her super cute merch at @femmeroyalemovement)
Give back to your Mother Earth
The last idea I have for you today is to give back to your Mother Earth. Right now, planet earth is slowly able to recuperate from everything we have burdened it with. Take this opportunity to thank it for all it has given us. For example, pick up garbage, plant a tree, or build a bird feeder.
“The reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up, instead of what they have to gain.” Said Rick Godwin. While we don’t have control over many things right now, we do have control over how we spend our time. During these hardships we are facing, I encourage you to make the absolute best of your circumstance. Instill the thought in yourself, that something beautiful can come of these tough times.
My boss said to me the other day, “One day Sara, you will tell you kids about this.” That, in my opinion, is one more reason to motivate myself through these difficult times. Do something you can be proud of, right? Stay strong VI!
One more note: The opportunity to look at quarantine as any bit of positive, or time for self-improvement, is a luxury. If you happen to be in a position to help those who are in less fortunate situations, in any way, please consider it. Reach out to the local nonprofits that are making a serious impact in the VI community. Charities like My Brother’s Workshop have already made and delivered over 6,798 meals across the islands thanks to their hard work, the amazing support of others including local businesses. Even if you do not have the time or resources, just sharing one of their social media pages or telling your friends is a help!